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GOVERNMENT ministers were encouraged to adopt legislation to outlaw shark fishing at a breakfast briefing on shark conservation hosted by the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) yesterday morning.
Experts from the international non-profit organisation the Pew Environmental Group told Cabinet ministers how such legislation would not only ensure the health of the coral reefs and sustain vital fisheries, it would also continue to support the lucrative shark tourism industry as local populations are unmatched elsewhere in the Caribbean.
Director of global shark conservation for the Pew Environmental Group Matt Rand explained how shark......
Key stakeholders in the national "Conchservation" campaign are advocating a possible ban on conch exports until the domestic reserves reach acceptable levels.
Following the launch of Conchservation last weekend, the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) and the Bahamas Commercial Fishers Alliance (BCFA) are in open dialogue on the way forward. Both parties agree that the conch population has reached a "critical stage", and rather than implementing an open season, meaningful changes are needed to save the iconic mollusc.
"We export around 500,000 pounds of conch each year," said Neil McKinney, the president of BNT. "According to the Department of Marine Resources, there are around three conch to a pound. So that's 1.5 million being exported every year. It is more than the stocks can bear."
Allaying the concerns of the fishing community, the BNT president said banning conch fishing outright or imposing a specific season could possibly be avoided. Fishermen are reluctant to allow a season because many Bahamians make ends meet on conch when crawfish season is closed.
Adrian La Roda, BCFA spokesperson, said banning conch exports would be a welcomed policy.
He said a compromise for BCFA is not to reduce exports but eliminate them entirely. While conch exporters might not relish the idea, he pointed out that 1.5 million conchs does not represent a large industry.
"It will have a minimum effect on exports and a big impact on the population. We think the domestic population will be better served by harvesting for local consumption only," he explained. "We are not going to support a closed season or any sort of ban. We need other means to reach a solution."
La Roda also argued that a ban on exports would make the Bahamian conch more "special" and a greater draw for tourists.
Whether exports are banned or not, McKinney told Guardian Business that last weekend's event is only a first step.
He said education must now kick in whereby Bahamians stop harvesting conchs that have yet to mature and spawn. He also called for the outlaw of fishing methods whereby underwater breathing apparatuses, typically used for lobster, allow fishermen to dive below 60 feet and take immature conches.
Another issue both sides seem to agree on are reserves so the existing conch population can breed undisturbed.
"How big would those reserves be? And how many would it take to sustain and eventually grow the stock?" he asked. "How will it be managed or enforced? We've reached a crucial stage where these questions and more needed to be answered."
FACULTY and students of the College of the Bahamas engaged in a lively roundtable discussion on environmental sustainability with conservationists and US State Department representatives.
The event featured Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, the largest international organisation focused solely on ocean conservation; Kevin Sullivan, director of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere's Office of Economic Policy and Summit Coordination; Eric Carey, executive director of Bahamas National Trust, and Lionel Johnson, chair of Chemistry, Environmental Life Sciences (CELLS) who moderated the session.
The discussion took place in the board room of the Michael Eldon Building on Thursday, October 15. Both Mr Sh ...
FREEPORT, The Bahamas - The Grand Bahama branch of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) recently received a donation of hammers, gloves, shovels and other equipment from Bahama Rock, the Reef Ball Foundation, Paradise Cove and ES Caribbean. The donation is a great example of a partnership between local and international organizations helping each other to help protect the environment.
"The BNT is appreciative of the tools donated through this partnership, which will significantly assist with ongoing work at the Rand Nature Center and Lucayan National Park," commented Lakeshia Anderson, Grand Bahama Parks manager. "We certainly look forward to building this relationship with these partners, to advance further conservation work in Grand Bahama."
Thanks to Bahama Rock's donation, volunteers were able to assist with preparing the reef balls for deployment into the water. Students from The College of Bahamas (COB), the Royal Bahamas Defense Force (RBDF) Rangers, St. George's Marine Conservation Group, and Lucaya International School were all a part of the initiative. While helping with the reef balls, the students participating all got a chance to learn about the importance of conservation and preservation of our shorelines.
With the reef ball project coming to an end, a decision has been made to re-donate the items to the BNT for use with national park maintenance on Grand Bahama. The donation was greatly appreciated by the BNT, as the supplies which were donated are a necessity when it comes to maintaining the parks.
Cheri Wood, a BNT member and volunteer noted, "Let this stand as a shining example of people and businesses that really care about the future of our environment and understand that we all must help each other if we are to succeed in keeping our island beautiful and healthy for generations to come."
Freeport, Grand Bahama - The Grand Bahama
Branch of the Bahamas National Trust is excited to announce that the
Rand Nature Centre in Freeport is now open every Saturday from
8:30-2:30. Located on Settler's Way directly across from GB Catholic
High, this national park is the perfect place to visit for some
relaxation after a hectic work week. The newly expanded hours are
perfect for local families with children and tourists who wish to
explore the nature trails, the watchable wildlife pond, and newly
renovated gift shop.
To celebrate the expanded hours of
operation, this Saturday, November 06, there will be face painting for
the children and other activities for those who visit the center...
NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Ministry of The Environment of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in conjunction with the Bahamas National Trust and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) announce a one-day conference at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort (West Bay Street, Nassau, Bahamas) on Friday, July 8, 2011.
An international and local group of practitioners, scholars, and legislators will address current environmental strategies and imagine future scenarios for the sustainable development of the Exumas, the chain of Bahamian islands that includes the Exuma Cay Land and Sea Park. The intention for this first exploratory event is to identify key issues and goals for a possible multiyear research initiative that will analyze the Exumas from environmental, social, economic, design, and planning perspectives.
The conference program will feature presentations by The Rt. Hon. Hubert Alexander Ingraham, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, The Bahamas, and The Hon. Earl D. Deveaux, Minister of The Environment. The list of speakers also includes national and international experts on sustainability and planning and a number of Harvard University faculty. Mohsen Mostafavi, Dean of the Harvard University GSD, who will speak at the conference, explains that "Planning for the future of the Exumas presents the challenge of fostering the wellbeing of the region's people while preserving the unique ecology and natural beauty of the islands. We hope that questions raised at this conference will prompt significant research to address this challenge."